Photo #1: Elder Ackroyd and I – Elder Ackroyd is the missionary I replaced in Smith Springs in my first area. He was Elder Leavitt's second to last companion.
Well tomorrow will mark exactly 5 months in the mission field, which is pretty awesome to say the least. There have been a lot of stressful events but for the most part it's been pretty okay. I won't lie and say it's been easy or every day is picture perfect. That's what The District is for -- haha. But in actuality things have been kind of rough this past week as well as almost all the weeks we've been here.
Monday through Friday was generally about the same as the weeks before: Tracting without much success, appointments canceling, and a really depressing missionary coordination meeting. On top of that I personally have been suffering a ton of physical, emotional, mental, and in some cases spiritual effects from the mission in itself. It's incredibly true that to serve a mission you absolutely have to have a testimony. You cannot survive without one.
The members have been pretty helpful or at least have done their best for us. We've been out on some splits, which have been semi-successful, but it's embarrassing to have appointments cancel while you're with a member. But I'm so grateful that they seem to understand what we're going through for the most part.
On Saturday we attended a Halloween/Fall Activity over at a member's house. We decided to "dress up" as missionaries, which everyone thought was pretty funny. Though we didn't win the costume contest, we had a lot of fun. At the party I got to meet my Jensen family cousin, Chad Ohman. He and his family are from Atlanta originally, but now live in Hendersonville, TN. They are in the Gallatin Ward. He and his wife seemed very happy to meet me, and we will be having dinner with them on Sunday. I am very excited about that!
2. Halloween Party
Sunday evening after church, we went to a mission-wide fireside, which meant that every missionary in the Tennessee Nashville Mission was invited to come. About 240 of the 250 missionaries were there. Some had travelled over 3 hours of driving to get there. Thankfully, we only had to go about 7 miles to the stake center. The speaker was the legendary singer David Archuleta, who answered a lot of our questions about his mission as well as sang some songs including, “Glorious,” which is from the new documentary, “Meet the Mormons” movie. It was really awesome. I recorded what he sang on my iPad but I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. One of the questions asked of him was "How often did music influence the people you taught?" I did my best to write down most of what he would say to the best of my ability:
I felt like there was no better way for me to feel the Spirit than through music. Primary was among some of my earliest memories of feeling the Spirit. In my first door contact we sang her (less active) a song (Nearer My God To Thee) and afterwards she felt the Spirit. I sang at just about every contact. The messages in songs teach people things that will open up their heart. Don't underestimate the effect a simple hymn can have.
The member he was staying with and orchestrated the whole fireside (who happens to be in our ward) saw me taking notes during the fireside and asked me to email all the notes I took, so she could print them off for David to read. So essentially, David Archuleta has something I did, which is pretty awesome.
3. Gathering around for a mission picture with David Archuleta (not seen).
Not sure when this picture will be released.
I'm still working on getting my body back to 100%. I've been going through a lot of physical and other problems which have been taking a toll on the work--nothing hopefully that would take me out of the mission, but still a factor. Thank you all for your love and support. We are doing better and should have a better week if our appointments hold through.
4. Tennis ball after many games of tennis over the past few weeks. The rubber is showing.
5. Elder Moeller, Elder Perry, and Elder Ellerbeck in the apartment.
(We changed the apartment up a little bit.)
6. Herd of 7 deer